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Cell. 1987 Sep 25;50(7):1047-55.

Distinguishing between mechanisms of eukaryotic transcriptional activation with bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase.


To distinguish between mechanisms of eukaryotic transcriptional activation, we tested whether yeast upstream promoter elements can stimulate transcription by a heterologous transcription machinery, bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. The gal enhancer-like element recognized by GAL4 protein or the ded1 poly(dA-dT) element was placed upstream of the T7 promoter and his3 structural gene, and T7 RNA polymerase was produced in yeast cells. Under conditions where the gal element would normally be either activating or nonactivating, his3 transcription by T7 RNA polymerase was not stimulated above the level observed in the absence of any upstream element. In contrast, the ded1 poly(dA-dT) element stimulated transcription 7-fold, similar to the enhancement observed on the native ded1 promoter. Activation by the ded1 element thus may involve effects on the chromatin template that facilitate entry of the transcription machinery, whereas activation by the gal element may involve specific contacts between GAL4 and the transcriptional machinery.

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